Purge

For a long time I have been a “collector”, from basketball cards when I was a kid, to music and film on basically every kind of media you can imagine. I took pride In my collection and some weird way it gave me a sense of accomplishment. During this month we have been getting rid of the same amount of “things” as the day in the date. Today on the 23rd of April, I have purged and am not seeing the sense in the collection anymore. The first thing that took a shellacking was the DVD pile.

In this day and age, EVERYTHING is basically available on free or paid streaming, as well as the other means that one may obtain content from the good old internets. Instead of having a wall of DVDs I have a small black box that holds thousands of hours of music, film, tv and every other thing I could ever want that sits on a shelf next to the TV. Our TV aerial hadn’t been plugged in since the end of football season last September and was only plugged in recently for the very same reason, to watch one game of football a week. We don’t watch broadcast television and therefore are not advertised to or watch any of the lobotomy style programming the major networks in Australia pass off as entertainment or news.

Looking at my DVD stack, I realised I have most of the stuff digitally now and have pulled half of them out, to never be put back again. We maybe watch an actual DVD twice a year, all they are  doing is filling the space in our TV cabinet they could be better utilized. Out with the old in with the none.

I have even offered up three of my pairs of sneakers to the cause of a less cluttered life. More on that soon.

 

BPF

 

News from the phone bedazzling stall.

For those wondering, I have not been captured by militant consumers and chained to a phone bedazzling stall inside a cavernous shopping centre, nor has Mama Fearse hobbled me just enough for me to be able to change nappies and ignite the barbeque yet not type. I have been, in all honesty, lazy and unconcerned with writing as of late. Hopefully this post will change the tide of words to the more succinct and entertaining.

Our first buy nothing new year has had an enormous effect on me. I no longer desire sneakers, at all. I said starting 2014 I was going to purchase a new pair to replace the couple of tired pairs that I have been wearing since the late 90s. As the clock struck ’14 though, I realised these old pairs had served me so well thus far and besides being a little worn out on the insides they still serve their purpose. I really like the idea of having a pair of new kicks to strut about the court in, but I don’t need them.

Also late last year I broke the screen on my laptop. I looked into having it repaired and found it would be cheaper to replace the computer outright. I had the money to replace it, but never did. 2014 rolled around and as I type this from said broken laptop attached via HDMI to our TV, I have decided to purchase a used monitor** and connect the laptop to it essentially turning this laptop into a desktop. It showed me that really thinking through and examining all options and avenues will often lead to a more sensible emotional and financial decision. I have got used to using my laptop in this unorthodox manner and truthfully having it at school with me was more of a distraction than a convenience so I think this will work out best for me and having the computer stuck in one place will also mean I won’t be spending as much time in front of it and more time will be spent chasing Lil Fearse around the house.

So there are my newest revelations readers, I will be sure to check in with you all more often from now on.

BPF

** Post writing but prior posting I managed to acquire an old monitor from Freecycle that, with the addition of an HDMI adaptor, should do the trick.

Hot Days: An Ice Age Adventure

The middle week of January was a scorcher here in Victoria. The heat started around 35C and grew to 43C by the end of the week. The house was hot, the yard was hot, the car was hot. Everything was hot. BP does not cope well with the heat. He gets hot and bothered fast. It seems that my daughter also suffers from this infliction. She also shows the heat in her face quite alarmingly. She goes beet red and stays that way until the weather breaks. I used to think she was somehow sunburnt, but I’ve learned now that it is her body’s way of telling me how hot she is because she isn’t yet able to. (I personally love the heat, but this post isn’t about me.)

I started my preparations for the week on the weekend before – freezing fruit salad; buying frozen yoghurt (something Little Fearse had never eaten before); freezing bottles of lemon juice and water; obtaining a variety of foods that could be cooked outside on the barbie; cleaning out the wading pool, and preparing an Ice Age Adventure (inspired by this Frozen Ocean Animal Rescue).

This took a couple of days to prepare. First I had to purchase some toys, as Little Fearse didn’t have any figurines that were quite the right size or weight. I headed to the op shop hoping to find some sea creatures, but instead I found a couple of dinosaurs, a lion and a snapsnap. Uh, sorry, a crocodile.

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Paired with two heavy little Muppet toys I layered these in a large bowl of water, starting with the heaviest. I let each layer freeze for a few hours before adding a new layer and new water.

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Luckily we were passed down a chest freezer from BP’s Mum just before we had Little Fearse. Lately I’ve been really conscious of it getting a little low on supplies, which means it’s using much more power than it should be. With the addition of several bottles of icy water and this Ice Age Adventure it was running at a much more optimal level.

We waited until Friday, when the house was at its hottest, before we unveiled the adventure. We decided to do it in the bathroom where the tiles would keep us cool and used the wading pool instead of a tub. This ended up being a great idea as it turned it into a kind of swampy pool at the end, adding to the whole atmosphere of the experience.

I started off using a spray bottle of coloured water (our blue and green food dye was very dark) and two containers of pink and green salt. Next time I think I’d stick to plain water and green salt. This is what gave it the best colouring as you can see in the pictures.

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A few tips:

– Little Fearse was a little young to do this alone. She did more watching and celebrating of animal freedom than actual ice-scavating. She still loved it, but either tee up an older child or adult to help your under 2 year olds.

– Sometimes the ice could get sharp, briefly, as it melted. Not sharp enough to cut, but sharp enough to hurt. Be wary of this when supervising your child.

– Very slightly warmed water in sqeezy bottles (like the sauce and mustard bottles we ended up using, over the spray bottle we started with) are more effective and easier to manage for little hands.

– Using ‘new’ toys rather than toys your child already owns has the extra excitement that comes with new toys. Little Fearse was really excited about getting the lion and crocodile out most of all and this kept her focused and attentive. We’ll try and find a way to rotate these out in our next toy cull. We do plan to do another Ice Age Adventure and will collect a few more toys for that. It’s EASY to find this style of toy in op shops or at the market. You could work on a theme – African animals, dinosaurs, sea creatures, little dolls etc

What activities do you share with your little ones on hot days? Any tips for surviving the heat? There is still a good deal of heat left in our Australian summer yet.

Mama xo

Best of 2013.

We’re going to take a week’s break from the ‘blog as a part of our BNN conclusion celebration. In the mean time, you may like to read back over some of the most popular posts of 2013. The most popular of these is about 10 times more popular than any of our other posts, so it almost doesn’t even feel right to have 9 other posts in this list. We will be publishing a follow up to this post when Little Fearse returns to Family Daycare this year, in a week or so.

Is your favourite Fearse Family post here?

1. 30 Days of Day Care Lunches for a 12 Month Old

2. Stuff – A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance

3. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month

4. Why are we doing this?!

5. What will we NOT buy second hand?

6. The Book Embargo

7. A big ‘to-do’ about nothing

8. My 2-4-1 challenge

9. A clothes shock take. Arg!

10. Challenges we already anticipate

 

We hope you enjoy reading back over some of the high and low lights of our year.

The Fearse Family xo

 

 

What Ever Happened To Gary Cooper?

The strong silent type. In a world of instantaneous global communication, endless information and opinion, many men are still incredibly guarded about their emotions and refuse to speak on topics that ultimately are shared experiences among many. The affect that a miscarriage has on the man in the equation is one of those topics.
I’m going to resist pretty much every instinct I have as a man and speak about in one of the most public ways available to me, this blog.
Mama Fearse met me outside the beach house when I returned from playing basketball in the city the night prior. When she jumped into the car to talk to me, I immediately sensed that something was awry. I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was worried, really worried and that she wanted/needed me to be strong. We talked about the bleeding and what it could mean, we agreed that if the pregnancy had ended that it was probably nature knowing best, I reassured her, I held her and I pushed the lump in my throat deep into my stomach. I constantly reassured Mama that it was going to be okay, even though I had no idea whether or not it would be.
Up until the moment that we found out that we had lost the pregnancy I was supremely confident it was going to be okay, I saw the look on the doctors face a moment before he put his hand on Mama’s shoulder to console her. I thought not of myself at that point, I didn’t think of my loss, I only thought of Mama. When she elected to have the D&C that night I marveled at her strength, in the same position I don’t think I would of been as brave. I wished and wished I could take her place, I didn’t think it was fair that on top of losing the pregnancy that she would also have to have surgery. We dropped off Lil Fearse and headed to the hospital, I read all the information and pamphlets that they thrust in our hands and although they are designed to inform and comfort the affected, I found that they made me feel much worse and I tried to hide them away from Mama, she had enough on her plate and I felt like I would be protecting her by sparing her the sad truth and statistics.
Mama went into surgery and I went home for an hour. I made phone calls to the few close friends and family that knew. I did this with a eerie calmness, the people I called expressed their sadness, but I didn’t, I waxed philosophical and comforted them, even though I was the one that needed comfort. I paced and paced in the backyard, I drank a glass of whisky and smoked the remnants of a broken cigarette that was in my office, it didn’t help. I felt sick. I felt helpless. Before I knew it I was on my way back to the hospital to Mama who was back in her room lucid and calm. We watched TV and asked when we could leave. we both wanted to get home, back to the safety and comfort that the Fearse Cave affords us.
I poured myself generous glass after generous glass of whisky, I hadn’t been drinking since Mama had fallen pregnant, but given the circumstance I jumped headlong back into an age old practice, swallow your grief and try and drown it in liquor. I don’t drink alcohol in front of Lil Fearse as to set an example for her and not to normalise alcohol consumption even on a semi regular basis.
My father was a heavy drinker and in hindsight seeing that normalised in my childhood led to years of me doing the same and thinking nothing of it. The arrival of Lil Fearse changed that for me though. My father was a man of very, very few words, in a way this gave what he did say more impact when he would open up, but those occasions were quite rare. My father died from a heart attack when he was 45, I was 15. The heart attack that killed him was his fourth and was surely not helped by his reluctance to live a more healthy lifestyle. I am incredibly proud of the man my father was and miss him every day, I feel cheated that I do not have him around to talk about fatherhood. The man that I am today is by and large a result of what I observed in the 15 years I got to spend with him upon this mortal coil. Talking about Dad, however, is probably best saved for another time.
There was a thick fog of sadness enveloping our home. Mama and I didn’t want to leave the bed or the couch for at least a week solid. Lil Fearse kept us smiling and ultimately grateful that we had her in our lives. In the sadness of this situation she was the gleaming beacon of joy that kept us moving, kept us talking and didn’t allow us to collapse into deeper depression. I talked with Mama Fearse daily about how she felt, constantly reassured her that there was nothing that she had done that had caused this loss to happen. We mourned the dream that could of been. We grieved for that dark shadow with a heartbeat we has seen weeks earlier. I overheard the conversations and support that came in for Mama from her friends and family. The revelations that friends of ours had gone through the same thing,
I received no phone calls, I had maybe one conversation that was any longer or of any more substance than “That sucks, bro…..So how about them Yankees?” with other men. No one wanted to talk about it, no one wanted to admit it had happened to them and no one wanted to tell me about their emotions or ask about mine. The idea that men are emotionally bulletproof is a falsehood, I felt angry, guilty, depressed, inferior and had waves of self pity. The emotion that was most overwhelming of all though was the feeling of helplessness. I couldn’t change what had happened, I couldn’t fix it or make it better, I couldn’t take my wife’s place and at times I couldn’t begin to understand the physical toll it had taken on her body.
Don’t get me wrong here people, I am in no way here preaching about how hard it is to be a man. I just wanted to shed some light on what a man goes through in the situation in the hope that someone somewhere who is going through the same thing read this and knows that it’s okay to own the way you feel about your families miscarriage, you might be the third person in the conversation when it comes to pregnancy and parenting but that’s okay too. You aren’t alone, chances are one out of three of your friends have experienced this, they understand, even if they wont bloody say so..
Keep Your Head Up Fellas.
BIg Poppa Fearse.

A blogging honour.

Joy of Joyfully Green has nominated us for our second Liebster Award. If you want to learn more about the award itself, check out this post. We love the Liebster Award for allowing us to share with you our favourite blogs, as well as getting a whole new list of great blogs from the person who nominated us. In addition, the nomination is different every time, as the questions change. So here are our answers to Joy’s thoughtful questions:

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 13-year-old self?

Mama says: I would like my 13-year-old self to be more confident in herself and to care less about what she looked like. I would like to reassure her that not being your typical teenage boys’ fantasy is a good thing, and will probably save her from a lot of awkward and embarrassing situations with the opposite sex during her teenage years.

Big Poppa says: Cheer up.

What is your idea of perfect bliss?

Big Poppa says: Eight hours sleep.

Mama says: A day to read. Also, these days, an empty shelf.

What books have been the most influential or inspiring to you?

Mama says: I read The Diary of Anne Frank when I was 10 years old and it changed my life. My complete understanding of the world had to readjust. I knew a safe and secure world and it shocked me to learn that other children in other places didn’t experience that. It lead to me reading a lot of books set in the Holocaust as a child and teenager. I’ve read a lot in my life and books will often take on a depth of meaning to me that changes my ideas about things. This is a hard question to answer!

Big Poppa says:  Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist gave me a different perspective on life. Marilyn Manson’s Long Hard Road Out of Hell was a great music book as far as learning about the music industry. He was really creative child and teenager from a painfully normal home, and I identified with that. I was a bit of an outcast. I felt understood when I read the book.

 What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about life? About blogging? (A two-parter!)

Big Poppa says:

Life: “Never pay full price for late pizza” – Michaelangelo

Blogging: Consistency is key – maintaining your output is important if you want to retain readers.

Mama says:

Life: I think that this year I have learnt more about life (and myself) than in any previous years. I have learnt that less is more – and not just in the sense of belongings and consuming. Less busy-ness and less events and less rushing. I’ve also learnt to give less weight to the stuff I own. It’s just not that important.

Blogging; My answer is kind of the opposite to Big Poppa’s and I think that is partially because I do the bulk of the blogging around here (BP is maybe thinking about all the times I’ve nagged him for a new entry, which is probably the most honest way to describe how we work as a blogging team). I have learned that although keeping a readership satisfied is important, it is most important to not lose sight of our overall goals for the year. We want our year to be simple, and sometimes blogging 3 – 4 times a week makes our life less simple. When we get busy I no longer feel guilty if I prioritise other stuff over blogging, especially if it’s Little Fearse or sunshine or all those good things. I have also tortured myself a little over what appears on the blog, especially after receiving some negative feedback on one post. I have realised that I can’t change who I am, or the way I write, for my audience. If my audience doesn’t like what I say or how I say it the choice has to remain with them whether they continue reading. I don’t feel it would be honest for me to change who I am for my readers, and it would defeat one of the purposes of the blog.

What single quality do you most appreciate in people?

Big Poppa says: Loyalty.

Mama says: There are many that are equal, but if I had to name one if would be kindness.

What or who is under-rated? What or who is over-rated? (Another two-parter!)

Mama says: Non consumerism is definitely under-rated. And, predictably, having new stuff is over-rated. Very over-rated.

Big Poppa says: I think motherhood is under-rated because there is so much external pressure put on mothers, and expectations. People don’t appreciate that level of pressure. Television is over-rated. With the way the internet is these days, where you can literally watch anything you’ve ever wanted to watch, why would you still watch programs with advertising, or pay for television?

What do you avoid at all costs?

Mama says: Shopping centres – I always hated them, but now we thankfully have few reasons to visit. This has been a lovely side-effect of the BNN year.

Big Poppa says: I avoid reading about certain technologies that are cool and would be handy, but are not necessary. For example, I refuse to read about the Playstation 4, so I am happy to stick with the PS3. But if I did read something…it would be really hard to not buy one.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Big Poppa says: Stealing cuddles from Little Fearse when she’s asleep.

Mama says: Stealing food from Little Fearse’s plate when she’s not looking.

What do you want people to say about you after you leave the room?

Big Poppa says: “What’s that smell?”

Mama says:  “I wish she was my Mum.”

What’s your favorite post that you’ve written? (Link, please!)

Big Poppa says: The Meat Line

Mama says: Generosity of Spirit (or Awesome x 8)

Thank you, Joy, for giving us the opportunity to blogroll some of our new favourites. I’m still unsure what the requirements of the award are, some say it’s about how long the person has been blogging, and some say it’s about how many followers they have. Our list is going to be a list of blogs we love, regardless of these apparently ever-changing rules. 

A Denver Home Companion

The Maiden Metallurgist

The Simple Year 2

Thriftypop: Living with less

Down to Earth Mother

And, questions for the nominees, if they choose to answer them:

1. Which books are on your bedside table right now?

2. What is the most sentimental item you own?

3. When is the last time you pushed yourself to your physical limits?

4. What amazes you in this world?

5. If you could choose anyone in the world to become your instant house mate, who would it be? (and why?)

6. What makes you happy?

7. What do you wish you could change?

8. If you could go back and observe (fly on the wall style) one day in your life, which day would you choose?

9. What principles guide your life?

10. Name one item you absolutely could not live without.

Please do comment with the link if you choose to answer the questions.

Thanks again to Joy,

Big Poppa and Mama.

Links we’ve loved #15

It’s been a while since we inundated you with links we’ve enjoyed. Here goes for a mega-episode of links we’ve loved…

We don’t know if this is a link we loved per se, but it did make us think. Floyd Mayweather clearly has more dollars than braincells. If we had squizillions of dollars would we do stuff like this, too? We like to think we’d be ethical, thoughtful, ‘non’ consumers no matter how much money we had but who knows? Gross amounts of money changes the way people think.

We really liked this post “Good bye Screen Time, Hello Awesome Kid“. It sort of echoes our experiences when removing large quantities of Little Fearse’s toys – a more settled, happier child.

So, this guy is practically father of the year. What a beautiful letter to his daughter – although it’s kind of important not to presume that there will be future husbands…

This very provocatively titled post really hits the nail on the head when it comes to judging parents.

We love this community cabinet idea, but are not sure if we’d want to host one. Would you do this in your front yard?

We have heard many parents say that they just couldn’t handle having to lie with their child for an hour or more each night to get them to sleep. We understand that sentiment so much, but this is what we have to do sometimes with Little Fearse. Not every night, but often enough. Sometimes this is harder than other times – sometimes Mama has work to do or Big Poppa has to go to TAFE. Generally though this is a time we have learnt to cherish. This post made Mama cry because she realised suddenly that Little Fearse won’t be Little Fearse all her life. One day she will be Medium Sized Fearse and one day she will be Big Fearse and then she won’t need us like she does now. *sob*

We’ve been feeling quite sad this week and it has made us realise that there is a real link between buying stuff and our emotions. There are two aspects to this – firstly, it is much harder to care about buying nothing new when we are emotionally ragged. Secondly, buying things (although they have all been second hand and mainly small toys) has given us enough of a happy buzz to be worthwhile to us. What a sad world, where we make ourselves feel better with stuff. This situation has made us realise just how happy we have been this year, which is a wonderful thing to realise, even when you’re feeling sad.  We just hope we can find a way to deal with sad times without needing to accumulate stuff. This article talks about the link between happiness and consumerism through advertising. A worthy read.

This video is weird, because it’s pretty much exactly what a day in BP’s life looks like.

BP has been listening to this song on repeat – a pretty nifty cover of Jackson Five’s I want you back. In the meantime Mama has been indoctrinating Little Fearse in the Beatles fan club. So far this video has been a favourite for both of them.

Joy of Joyfully Green has nominated us for a Liebster Award. We’re honoured! Stay tuned for our response soon, but in the meantime, check out the great list of like-minded blogs Joy nominates. We also highly recommend a trot into the archives of Joyfully Green itself.

Have a great week,

The Fearse Family

Link’s we’ve loved #14

It’s been a while since we’ve thrown some fun links at you. Spring time makes us want to run around outside more than it makes us want to sit inside updating the ‘blog. I’m sure those of you that are on your own simple adventures will understand.

We don’t celebrate Halloween in Australia (or at least, not in the Fearse Cave), but this Pinterest board has so many great DIY costume ideas that can be used for parties or book weeks or any other excuse to dress up that we thought it was worth linking anyway.

Even though Lil’ Fearse is too young yet, Mama has been salivating over more cubby makeovers. Check out this repainted Little Tikes house. Cute!

100 Days of Real Food had a FB competition for best school lunch of the day. Heaps of fun ideas, we like the simplicity of the winning entries. We are working on another 30 day care lunch ideas. Our food photography is a little on the icky side, but we’d like to offer more photos this time. Any tips on how to make Lil Fearse’s lunches look as appetising as they are?

Mama has been going through more boxes that have surfaced at her parents’ house. This has prompted re-reading of some great articles on dealing with sentimental clutter. Although we’ve linked some of these before, they are worth revisiting.

While going through the boxes Mama found a couple of very cute vintage children’s books that are well beyond repair. She is looking forward to exploring some of these vintage book projects.

You might have seen this video clip floating around the Internet the last week or so. On Friday this guy was our PM and there was a chance that marriage equality would be a reality in Australia one day soon. By Saturday the other guy had won the federal election, shattering those chances entirely.

Then again, Canada is also going a little loopy.

Better than this happening, though.

Time to count our blessings. We have many.

xo The Fearse Family